Kim Andersen: News Deserts and Local Political Knowledge

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Kim Andersen

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This day, Kim Andersen will give the talk "News Deserts and Local Political Knowledge" as a part of the 2nd Scandinavian Audience Oriented Political Communication Workshop. Those that wish, can also participate in other parts of the workshop, the program is added below.

Abstract for the talk:
The closure of many local news outlets in recent decades has left some areas, so-called “news deserts”, with very limited or no news coverage. This development raises a concern of whether people get the information they need to engage in local politics. In connection with the Danish Local Elections in 2017 we conducted a content analysis of national, regional, and local news media and a representative survey of voters. Based on this data we examine how news coverage of municipalities and news exposure are related to knowledge about local politics.

Lunch is served at first come, first served basis.


Program for the workshop

10:15-10:30 Doors open - Coffee / tea
10:30-10:40 Erik Knudsen: Welcome!

10:40-11:40 Erik Knudsen: «I’ve made up my mind — don’t confuse me with facts! How political preferences shape trust in researchers»

Abstract: A key challenge for communicating research to the public is the human tendency to deem sources and information they agree with as more credible then information with which they disagree. This can hinder a common understanding over the fact that a fact is
not subjective information and be indicative of a posttruth era in which everyone can voice and hold an expert opinion on scientific matters. But in order for people's tendency to evaluate scientific credibility based on attitude consistency to truly be cause for alarm, attributes associated with people's political preferences must be more important than other "competing" attributes. In this talk, I present the results from conjoint experiments conducted in Norway and in the U.S., comparing the effects of citizens' political preferences on their trust in researchers' expertise with attributes that are crucial for judging quality and credibility in the scientific community: the merits of the researcher and the prestige and impact of the publication channel. I find that, while merits matter, people’s political preferences shape trust in researchers regardless of their scientific merits.

11:40-12:00 Coffee break

12:00-13:00 The DIGSSCORE Lunsj seminar:
Kim Andersen: News Deserts and Local Political Knowledge

13:20-14:20 Lene Aarøe: The psychological news criteria of the human mind: Evolved psychological biases shape the diffusion of political news stories in interpersonal communication

Abstract: Many political news stories reach citizens via a two-step process, transmitted to them indirectly via their social networks. Yet, why do some news stories “go viral” and become transmitted heavily in citizens’ social networks with strong impact on their political opinions while others go by almost unnoticed? In this talk, I integrate theories from cognitive and evolutionary psychology into classical political science research on the flow of political communication to argue that political news stories that resonate with deep-seated psychological biases will be transmitted more and have stronger impact on citizens’ political opinions when they transmitted in their social networks. Focusing on evolved biases for cheater detection and vivid social information, I present experimental evidence from large-scale chain transmission studies collected in Denmark and the United States supporting this argument.

14:15-14:30 Coffee break

14:30-15:00 Summing up: audiences oriented political communication research in Scandinavia – where are we and what is the next step?

15:00 End